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Extreme Flooding Caused by Climate Change

Climate change refers to long term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns. These changes can be natural, but human activities have been the main factor of climate change. Climate change has made extreme weather events such as floods and droughts more likely and more severe. Both coastal and inland communities have suffered flooding, sea levels rising and other climate change factors are to blame.

Floods are caused by rapid and excessive overflow of waters along the coast such as rivers and streams. Many areas can be prone to flooding due to poor infrastructure which is known as floodplains. According to the article Flooding and Climate Change: Everything you need to know ‘’ More than half of the US population lives or works in areas susceptible to coastal flooding, which happens when winds from a coastal storm, such as hurricane or nor`easter, push a storm surge(essentially, a wall of water) from the ocean onto land.  A storm surge can produce widespread devastation like that seen around New York and New Jersey when Hurricane Sandy arrived during high tide’’. Overall, the risk of flooding is constantly increasing due to climate change.

The impact of floods around the world have devastating consequences for people including damaged homes, resulting in deaths and devastating costs. The effects of floods are sometimes long term depending on the amount of damage that has been done in communities. If the flooding is a threat to humans in some cases they might be forced to evaluate into a safer environment until the situation gets resolved. According to the article, ‘Flooding and Climate change: Everything You Need to Know’ it states “Impacts of flooding go far beyond our own homes. Repairing and replacing flood-damaged roads, bridges, utilities and other public infrastructure carry enormous costs. Between 2007 and 2017, the National Flood Insurance Program(NFIP) paid an average of $2.9 Billion per year to cover flood-related losses, with individual years often costing far more’’. In some cases individuals don’t have insurance or they are not eligible for government assistance leaving them unable to protect their home and belongings which will take them longer to recover when flooding occurs. They will be forced to adapt to unexpected changes.

Floods can cause contaminated waters leading to the spread of diseases which can impact an individual’s wellbeing. According to the article ‘The Many Effects of Flooding’, ‘’Flood- water can be contaminated with pollutants such as agricultural pesticides, industrial chemicals, debris and sewage. If contaminated flood water enters the ocean, it can affect water quality and disrupt delicate ecosystems, such as coral reefs…Flooding events increase the chance of spreading waterborne diseases such as Hepatitis A and cholera. Receding flood water can cause stagnant pools of water, which provide the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes that  can transmit malaria and other diseases’’. Floods are natural disasters occurring worldwide which has a massive health impact. In addition, increased flooding might make humans at risk for being exposed to diseases.

Adaptation strategies that can be used to address flooding. Frequent inspections of draining systems to make sure culverts and catchment basins are functional, and clear of blockages. Also, funding for vulnerable communities help elevate homes, buildings, and businesses in flood prone areas. It’s important to ensure individual access to services like health clinics, food banks, homeless shelters, etc. It would be effective to work with communities to learn about current and past flooding problem areas, restoring and enhancing or creating new wetlands adjacent to waterways to reduce flooding and erosion. The ability to adapt is not equal between all people because adaptation requires money. Developing nations with limited financial resources are less able to adapt to climate change. Lastly, the ability to adapt can help keep us safe.

Sources 

https://www.nrdc.org/stories/flooding-and-climate-change-everything-you-need-know#climate

https://www.un.org/en/climatechange/science/climate-issues/water?gad_source=1&gclid=CjwKCAjw7-SvBhB6EiwAwYdCAZl-_WqWHQVbZcvoNIhd-qmdO6Rgrt7pIbpAEdrc–p5wRpUHEZeexoC3WwQAvD_BwE

https://education.nationalgeographic.org/resource/many-effects-flooding/

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